The FIFA Women’s All Star Team to face world champions Germany at the Stade de France in Paris on 20 May 2004 has been finalised. From six continents and 12 nations, we welcome 20 of the biggest names in the female game who will kick-off the football fiesta on FIFA’s 100th birthday.
Domanski-Lyfors, Marika (SWE)
One of the pioneers of Swedish women's football, Marika Domanski-Lyfors enjoyed a distinguished playing career between 1971 and 1988, claiming Swedish championship honours in 1981 and 1984 and Cup winners' medals in 1981, 1982 and 1984. She began coaching in 1989 and stepped up to the position of national coach in 1996. The Stockholm-born 43 year-old has since led her side to the peak of the world game. The FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003 runners-up spot represents the pinnacle of her coaching career to date.
Loisel, Elisabeth (FRA)
The France coach led her charges to their debut FIFA Women's World Cup finals last year and is determined to establish France among the global elite of the women's game. The highly regarded coach's playing career spanned two decades, including seven seasons as captain of the national team. The 100 percent commitment she showed as a player now characterises her work as a coach: since taking office in 1997, she has raised fitness and mental durability to unprecedented heights. Loisel is an outspoken proponent of developing women's football at grassroots level.
Jönsson, Caroline (SWE)
Caroline Jönsson won a lasting place in the affections of fans at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003 with a string of outstanding displays, beating away almost everything the powerful German strikers could throw at her in the Final before finally conceding to Nia Künzer's trophy-winning Golden Goal. The 26 year-old Malmo FF custodian, named second best goalkeeper at the tournament behind Germany's Silke Rottenberg, first represented Sweden in 1999 and now has more than 50 caps to her name.
Sulemana, Memunatu (GHA)
One of the best shot stoppers in the women’s game, Memunatu Sulemana is a force to be reckoned with between the pipes for Ghana. Commonly thought of as the best net-minder in Africa, Sulemana’s lightning-quick reflexes have been on display at both the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cups. She impressed at both events, playing a major part in the rapid improvement of the Black Queens.
Diacre, Corinne (FRA)
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most important goal of Corinne Diacra's career to date came in a FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying decider against England in front of 23,000 fans at the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in St Etienne. France captain Diacra sent her home crowd into raptures with the only goal of the game to earn Les Bleues a debut appearance at the finals. The 29-year-old, capped on more than 100 occasions, was forced out of the action after France's win over Korea and was unable to lead her team-mates to greater glory on the world stage.
Hooper, Charmaine (CAN)
For years Canada’s top striker, and now at 35 years of age, an indispensable defensive bastion, Charmaine Hooper is a true icon in the world of women’s football. Her lone goal against China PR in the quarter-finals of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003 saw the Canucks land themselves in a first-ever semi-final. With the most all-time caps and goals for her country, Canadian women’s football - currently on an awe-inspiring upswing - owes an enormous debt of gratitude to this classy, versatile footballer.
Salisbury, Cheryl (AUS)
Battling captain, Cheryl Salisbury is a defensive workhorse in the centre of Australia’s defence. At a towering 1.8 metres, she is as imposing a figure as any poor striker is likely to run into, and her ferocity in the tackle has made her a feared and respected foe. With 25 goals in 81 matches, the defender is also Australia’s all-time top goal scorer. This affable two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup veteran is known as much for her skill and vision as her ruthless efficiency at the back…so defenders and attackers alike, beware.
In tandem with Marta, Daniela pulled the midfield strings for Brazil at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2003, filling a starring role for her side with a goal and two assists. The 20-year-old appeared in all four matches and shot to attention with her technically accomplished displays, earning rave notices after the 4-1 victory over Norway and claiming the Player of the Match accolade for her spectacular goal.
Wang Liping (CHN)
Recalled to the Chinese team ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003 last May, the retired veteran showed the whole world the reason why. Despite the Steel Roses' disappointing exit in the quarter-finals, Liping looked her old self, marshalling the Asian Giants' backline with confidence, experience and artistry. The 31-year-old right back has, for years, been the unquestioned bastion for China's rearguard. She has also managed to score six goals in her impressive 156 caps. Liping was one of only a handful of old guard veterans to be kept in the current China squad under the leadership of new boss Zhang Haitao.< p> Ibrahim El Hawat, Marwa (EGY)
Twenty-one-year-old Marwa Ibrahim El Hawat has been on the books at Cairo outfit Goldi Club since 1998 where she appears as left-back, libero or in defensive midfield. The player first stepped up to the Egypt squad in 1997 and was named in the Arabian women's football All-Star team for Dubai 2004.
Boxx, Shannon (USA)
Recently named tournament top player at the 11th instalment of the prestigious Algarve Cup in Southern Portugal, Shannon Boxx has solidly established herself as a worthy successor to some of her more established and time-tested team mates. A fierce presence in the centre of the American midfield, the 26-year-old’s athleticism made her a power on both sides of the ball at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003.
Marta shot to prominence aged 17 at the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship Canada 2002 before starring for the senior side at the FIFA Women's World Cup USA the following year. Despite her tender years she was entrusted with the number 10 shirt, previously the property of Brazil legend Sissi, and she responded with three goals in four games and a classic demonstration of the playmaker's art. Add to that her deadly finishing skills, and a place in the FIFA Women's World Cup All Star team is a fitting reward.
Moström, Malin (SWE)
Malin Moström fills a key role in central midfield for Sweden. She arrived at top club side Umea IK in 1995 aged 20 and went on to make her international debut in 1998, scoring the winner on her very first appearance. Moström has since earned more than 70 Sweden caps and has a double digit international scoring tally. Pace is the key to her success, combined with mazy dribbling skills, the ability to take on defenders and a killer final ball.
Mugneret-Beghe, Stéphanie (FRA)
A non-stop runner and versatile footballer, Stephanie Mugneret-Beghe is a valuable utility player for emerging European side France, who made their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut at USA 2003. Previously in the WUSA, the battling midfielder possesses equal parts creativity going forward and determination when tracking back.
Sawa, Homare (JPN)
The only Japanese player to make a name for herself in the WUSA, skilful 26-year-old striker Homare Sawa's nose for goal was on display for all to see at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup in the U.S. With 48 goals in her 79 appearances for the national team, she has firmly established herself as the most influential female player in Japan. Sawa scored twice in Japan's impressive opening victory over debutants Argentina in the USA last September, and scored again in their 1-3 loss to eventual semi-finalists Canada.
El Awady, Naima (ALG)
Gifted 28-year-old Algeria star Naima El Awady has appeared for a number of European clubs in a career at the top of the women's game The player spent time in the German Bundesliga before moving south in 2002 and currently turns out for French outfit Celtic Marseilles, where she operates in midfield or attack. She is a fixture in the national side and a member of the Arabian women's football All-Star team for Dubai 2004.
Steinegger, Prisca (SUI)
Blessed with a cultured left foot and intelligent football brain, Steinegger’s impressive performances last season (2002/3) in her national team’s colours helped her to Switzerland’s player of the year award. The versatile 26-year-old, at home playing in midfield or centre-back as she does for club-side SV Seebach, first came to prominence as a sprightly 15-year-old running out for DFC Blue Stars Zurich. A clean striker of the ball with a keen eye for goal, Steinegger was turning out for Switzerland’s U-21s soon after before winning the first of her 23 caps in 1996. Now at her footballing peak, she is spearheading her country’s charge for a berth at the UEFA European Championship 2005.
Svensson, Victoria (SWE)
A perfect foil for strike partner Hanna Ljungberg, Victoria Svensson proved a revelation at the FIFA Women's World Cup USA 2003. With a blend of determination, desire and spontaneity, Svensson scored three goals and played a key role in Sweden's run to the runners-up spot. The striker celebrates her 27th birthday two days before the All Star game and should shortly join the illustrious ranks of players with more than 100 international appearances.
Pichon, Marinette (FRA)
The lynchpin of the French attack since the mid 1990s, Marinette Pichon burst into view with her success in the WUSA – she scored 28 goals in 26 matches. Her match-winning goal against Korea Republic and injury time equaliser against Brazil were not enough to send Les Bleues into the knockout rounds at USA 2003. However, the gritty Pichon more than proved herself one of the classiest finishers, and hardest workers, around.
Akide, Mercy (NGA)
"Marvellous" Mercy Akide is the most famous name in African women’s football, and one of the most dangerous attacking players of the past decade. She and the Super Falcons made a splash at USA 1999 where they only went out in extra time of the quarter-final to South American champions Brazil. With her strength on the ball and powerful shot, Akide is always a threat to score.
Wambach, Abby (USA)
A towering, powerful striker whose first step on the world stage arrived with a virtual thunderclap at the FIFA Women’s World Cup USA 2003. With three goals at last year’s showpiece event, her presence up front for the States has added an all-but-unstoppable option in attack. Unerring in the air and surprisingly fleet of foot for such a sizeable figure, her four goals at this year’s Algarve Cup in Portugal (including a hat trick in the final with Norway) were enough to see her earn the prestigious invitational tournament’s top scorer laurels.